Guatemala Memories

January 20, 2015

I spent last week in Guatemala as part of a partnership Churchnet has with the Convention of Baptist Churches in Guatemala. We traveled down there on Monday (my birthday). Plane trouble and a missed flight resulted in a more international day as we were rerouted through Mexico City before finally making it to Guatemala City. During the flight from Mexico City, I got to see the volcano Popocatépetl. Photos from Mexico City can be seen here.

After making it to Guatemala City, we traveled by van to Quetzaltenango, also called Xelajú. The second largest city in Guatemala, it is a nice city with mountain views and lively streets. Photos of Quetzaltenango can be seen here.

I spent two days in Quetzaltenango to lead sessions during a training conference for Baptist pastors and church leaders. I led three sessions: "Communication as Foundational," "Sermon Delivery," and "Using Social Media." My Churchnet colleague and friend Gary Snowden (Missions Mobilization Team Leader) translated for me and led two sessions on "Sharing Good News with Roman Catholic Friends." About 85 individuals participated in the conference, sparking some good interactions and Q&A times. Photos from the training conference can be seen here.

After returning to Guatemala City, we visited the Tabitha Ministry. Churchnet supports this inspiring ministry that works with women and children who live near the city dump. We met children who receive education and food there. That morning we also went to the nearby city cemetery to look out over the city dump. As buzzards flew overhead, thousands of people sorted through the trash looking for things to sell. It was a heartbreaking sight and shows the great need for groups like the Tabitha Ministry. Photos from Guatemala City can bee seen here.

Since this was my first visit to Guatemala, I got to stop by Antigua. A popular tourist destination, it features volcanoes, artisans and merchants, old ruins, and good food. I bought some stuff for family and especially enjoyed seeing the ruins of a Catholic cathedral dating back to the 17th Century. Photos from Antigua can be seen here.

As we traveled back-and-forth between the various cities, I enjoyed the landscape of Guatemala. Mostly mountains - with lots of volcanoes tossed in - it's a beautiful country. Photos from the countryside can be seen here.

I also enjoyed seeing some political signs, including billboards, painted rocks, and protest signs. This year is a presidential election year in Guatemala, so political activity is starting to increase. I saw signs for about 10 different political parties (and didn't see some for others that exist). Photos of various political signs can be seen here.

It was a great trip and I will share more memories later.